Oh, I’ve been meaning to write about this book for a long time now.
Okay, so I didn’t actually get this from a secondhand bookshop, as Borough Press‘s #BookADayUK prompt suggests. However, I did get it secondhand, and boy oh boy, is it a gem.
I picked up Woman’s Day Encyclopedia of Cookery, Vol. 1 (yes, there are apparently more volumes; is that a threat on their part?) from the breakroom table at my last job. When I began flipping through the pages, my first thought was of BE BOLD WITH BANANAS.
Never be bold with bananas, kids.
The Woman’s Day Encyclopedia of Cookery, Vol. 1 is not quite as bold or ground-breaking as BE BOLD WITH BANANAS—thank heavens for that—but it covers everything from abalone to bean sprouts, and that’s a lot of room to do a lot of damage.
Take, for example, artichokes. I love a good artichoke, but you have to think, the first person who ever looked at one of those plants and thought, “Hey, I bet this would be DELICIOUS” must have been close to starving, because those things are like the porcupines of the vegetable world.
But they don’t deserve this:
My first thought upon seeing this was “OMG WHAT ARE THOSE GRAINY ROUND THINGS ON THE OUTSIDE?” My second thought was that the little salt cellar is adorable. But it doesn’t make up for the travesty sitting front and center.
Backing up alphabetically to apricots, we can see that even fruit is not safe in this chamber of horrors:
For starters, canned apricots. Secondly WHAT ARE THOSE ARE THOSE HOT DOG BUNS WHAT THE HELL?
Oh, but it gets better… or worse, depending on how you look at it. Take curried apricot pork chops.
Good luck finding the pork chops swimming in that soup of sick. Are they trying to traumatize people here? Did the photographer get sick right before he was supposed to take this shot?
What they do to avocados is just as bad, though:
If they wanted to be accurate, they should have called the avocado lime pie “How to turn your kids off of avocados, and limes, and pies. And living.”
As you can tell, sumptuous photography was an important part of this terrine of terror. Take, for example, this photo of several dishes artfully arrayed:
This shows how important it is to make sure the food matches the room. Well, at least the retro sofa looks appealing.
When we dive into the text, we find horrors to match the photos. From the section on “Favorite Recipes from Our Fifty States” we find this under Maryland:
Yeah, I have no words either. Except the one that jumped out at me: intestines. INTESTINES, people.
You like beignets? Not anymore:
Of course, I have saved the worst for last. I can’t spare you from the attack of the aspic:
You want to cook superbly, Helen? Start by never making an aspic, ever.
Nonononono! (Is that—is that blood?)
As you know, I am working on thinning out my bookshelves lately, but I’m torn with this book. Do I get it out of the house, or do I keep it from falling into other unsuspecting hands? The horror, I tell you. The horror.